by Maureen O'Connor @ 10:36 am post a comment »
Summer’s fast approaching and many of us will be increasing our time in the sun while pursuing all our favorite outdoor pastimes. Having a nice deep tan can make you look like your favorite celeb on DWTS (they use spray tan) but also expose you and yours to some very harmful sun-related effects. One of our favorite people-friendly orgs, Environmental Working Group, has just published its 2013 Guide to Sunscreens and a list of things ‘not’ to bring with you on your next vacation or trip to the beach. Here’s a quick look at their recommendations:
- No to Spray Sunscreens – What price convenience? Mom’s may appreciate the ease-of-use of these products but there’s a looming concern that these sprays pose serious inhalation risks. The spray also makes it easy to to miss a spot or have thin areas of application – leaving bare skin exposed to harmful rays.
- No to Super-High SPFs – Products with sky-high SPFs don’t necessarily provide more protection than SPF 30, and though they may protect against sunburn, they can leave your skin exposed to damaging, deep-penetrating UVA rays. Consumers can also be lulled into a false sense of security by staying out in the sun longer while using a high SPF product. The higher SPF products may prevent sunburn during extended sun exposure, but that extra time in the sun will increase the risk of other kinds of skin damage. Note: only one in seven sunscreens in EWG’s sunscreen guide this year boasts SPFs higher than SPF 50+.
- No to Oxybenzone – Check those labels – oxybenzone is a common ingredient in many sunscreens. The chemical penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can also trigger allergic reactions. Preliminary data has found links between oxybenzone and endometriosis in older women and negative effects on pregnant women.
- No to Loose Powder Sunscreens – Like sprays, loose powder sunscreens can expose users to the inhalation of chemicals like zinc and titanium. Sun care products designed for the face and hair often contain loose powder. If they do, don’t use them. The FDA no longer allows manufacturers of over-the-counter products containing loose sunscreen powder to advertise and SPF or claim sun protection claims.
- No to Retinyl Palmitate – This chemical form of vitamin A is often used in night cream beauty products for its supposed anti-aging properties. Unfortunately, government studies have indicated, that when applied to sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Almost one in four of the SPF-rated sunscreens, makeups and moisturizers in this year’s EWG suncare guide contains retinyl palmitate.
- No to Combo Sunscreen/Bug Repellents – Here’s a case where multi-tasking can be a bad thing. Two notes: bugs are not a major problem during the hours when UV exposure is at its peak and sunscreen may need to be reapplied more frequently than repellent, or vice versa. Studies have indicated that combining sunscreens and repellents leads to increased skin absorption of the repellent ingredients – so keep that stuff off your face.
- No to Sunscreen Towelettes – In 2011 the FDA updated sunscreen rules to end the sale of sunscreen wipes and towelettes. Some small companies have been granted another year to remove them from their product lines. The towelettes can provide too little sunscreen to provide adequate protection. Chuck em’ out.
- No to Tanning Oils – Though you may admire the deep brown, leathery look of George Hamilton in his prime, these products don’t provide enough protection and promote risky behavior by encouraging users seek out intense sunshine and pursue tanning behaviors that can result in skin damage and increased risk of developing skin cancer. EWG recommends avoiding products with SPF values lower than 15 or those that don’t contain either zinc oxide or avobenzone for UVA protection.
We would also recommend that you always cover-up when out in the midday sun. Wear a big hat, a long sleeve shirt (when appropriate) and get out of the sun when you start feeling the heat and/or get pink. Garden or do yard work early or late in the day when the sun’s rays are less intense, always wear a healthful sun protection product and… George Hamilton… don’t be so darn vain.
related: here are some additional skincare, sunscreen and health and beauty reviews from The Alternative Consumer
Thursday, May 16, 2013
by Maureen O'Connor @ 9:14 am post a comment »
full disclosure: Snowberry provided us with 2 free sun care products for the purposes of our Tried and True Green Product Review.
Always on the hunt for people- and planet-friendly sun protection products that don’t leave a layer of white film on my skin … We recently discovered Snowberry Beauty, a naturally-derived upscale skin care line hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. Created by cosmetician Soraya Hendesi, (above) I tried & tested 2 of their sun protection products.
Yes, I finally found some safe and effective sunscreen products that don’t make me look white as snow after slathering them on … I’m more than pale naturally, thank you very much. But I’m inclined to give a green thumbs up for only the SPF 30, and a slight thumbs down for the SPF 15. Here’s why…
Thumbs up – After gliding on the SPF 30, I can play golf and tennis in Florida’s sun, and also dip in the ocean while not burning up. Snowberry’s Active Outdoor 30 is intended to provide Broad Spectrum High Sun Protection while sporting around, and that’s just what it does for me. It has a nice texture, goes on smoothly and doesn’t make me feel like I have an extra layer of clothing on. Skin actually feels like it can breathe, so I’m not extra hot and bothered while moving around. As with most sun protection, you’re advised to re-apply after a swim or splash but I just usually cover-up and head home in search of a hot shower.
Slight thumbs down – The SPF 15 is designed as for Everyday Broad Spectrum Medium Sun Protection so the first time I tried it, I dabbed some on my face, neck, arms and hands took a brisk walk. Although it didn’t leave a white film on my skin, it felt tacky, a bit sticky. The product is eco-conscious and provides protection, but it didn’t feel great on my skin after applying.
As a luxury brand, Snowberry products are on the pricey side. However, one should consider what goes into line … on the upside, their mineral based formulations include: zinc oxide, olive oil, shea butter and exotic plant extracts, and do not include: chemical screens, parabens, petrochemicals, added fragrance and nano-particles like many of the traditional brands on the market today. Snowberry sun care products are carbon zero certified, and the ingredients in them will not harm marine life or coral reefs when you dive in the ocean. Not many sunscreens on the market today can make those planet-friendly claims.
You can purchase these small-sized items via the company store, or check their list of online etailers and retail shops that carry them. (SPF 15 $35 & SPF 30 $38; 1.7 oz/each) find more @ snowberrybeauty.com
images above via snowberrybeauty.com
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
by Maureen O'Connor @ 1:40 pm post a comment »
full disclosure: We received a free tube of PRIME Daily Pain Defense Cream by Ateevia Botanica for the purposes of our Tried and True Green Product Review.
This botanical-based, deeply penetrating, pain alleviating cream really rubs me the right way. I’ve been using it periodically for the past couple of weeks and I’m happy to say, it actually works. You know how it is when you’re experiencing pain and you finally receive some relief – there’s nothing better, right?
I’ve my share of recurring, irritating aches and pains. These aches occur on one forearm from playing tennis, both heels, one side of my neck and occasionally along my lower back. To top it off, I recently sprained my ankle when I fainted (which was very weird).
I first tried the cream on my forearm and heels the minute I opened the box. Within 20 minutes or so, I felt sweet relief. Ateevia recommends applying it 2 to 3 times a day, so that’s what I did for the first 10 days or so. Before bed, and after my morning shower. Now I just use it at night and as-needed on any given day. Today I used it on my neck and ankle. I rub it in for about 20 seconds or so and take a deep breath. It has a nice texture and subtle fragrance. I like how quickly it works. But enough about me, what’s in this stuff, why does it work?
PRIME pain relief cream is primarily derived from botanical extracts mixed in a Shea butter base. According to the company, their trade secreted technology has allowed them to maximize the efficacy of Ateevia’s essential extractions. Light brown in color, PRIME is a unique blend of Phytonutrient-Rich, Inflammation Minimizing Extracts that provide anti-inflammatory properties including cucurbita pepo (pumpkin seed extract), helianthus annuus (sunflower seed extract), borago officinalis (Borage oil), vitis vinifera (grapeseed oil) and carthamus tinctorius (safflower) essential oil. But it’s our trade secreted manufacturing processes that enhance the potency of the ingredients, providing the greatest kick.
… it contains concentrated amounts of Flavonoids and Lignans, delivering potent anti-inflammatory action, and is rich with Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Oleic Acid, which provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits. These pain relieving properties, along with PRIME Therapy’s ability to effectively penetrate the skin, result in a dramatic reduction (and often elimination) of joint pain (for further explanations and pertinent scientific research, please see “Research” section of our website).
Designed to be used as an anti-inflammatory and treat Arthritic joints, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, Tendonitis, lower back pain, heel pain and sports bruises, you can find more info and a list of ingredients on Ateevia Botanica’s website.
Depending on the compound and area of the body to which it’s applied, anywhere from 30-100% of the compound can penetrate skin and enter the bloodstream, I wouldn’t recommend using any chemical-laden cream. Ateevia offers a money back guarantee so there’s little financial risk involved if you’re thinking of trying it. We give PRIME our green thumbs up … ($24.99, 3 oz) @ ateevia.com.
Monday, April 15, 2013
by Maureen O'Connor @ 4:38 pm 4 comments »
Part of my life’s journey takes me on a perpetual quest to keep skin healthy and looking good … I recently tried two products from Mad Hippie and put them to a two-week test. Were their claims real or just marketing spin? (more…)
Monday, April 1, 2013
by Maureen O'Connor @ 5:05 pm 1 comment »
With so many products to choose from, how do you determine which sun care brands & products are safe and effective?
I turn to Environmental Working Group - they do a great job of testing and evaluating the safety and effectiveness of many of today’s brands. In addition to lists for: Best Lip Balm with SPF, Best Moisturizers with SPF, and Best Makeup with SPF, they also feature Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens.
Their 2012 Beach & Sport Sunscreen list includes products that DO, and products that DO NOT contain minerals (zinc and titanium). The list includes links to each product with a breakdown of key ingredients. As they readily admit, NO product is absolutely, 100% safe. But since their findings are independent, I think they provide an invaluable guide.
Looking for mineral-based UVA protection? According to EWG:
- do not use products that contain either oxybenzone or Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
- do not use sprays or powders
- use lotions, creams, etc
Based on their 2012 list, I’ve decided to try Badger. Their ingredient mix looks fairly harmless, (they received an overall rating of 1, a low rating is very good); they’re not too expensive; and I adore Badger’s massage balm … I’ll probably choose an SPF 30 and I’ll let you know how it goes. Have fun in the sun, but be sure to protect your face and body. Don’t be an April Fool.
Note: You can buy the Badger sunscreen @ amazon.com.
Monday, March 25, 2013
by Maureen O'Connor @ 2:00 pm 5 comments »
I recently tried two new organic skin care products from Sevani Botanica, putting them to a three-week test … and I’m glad I did. Happy face, happy girl. And I’m not just being cutesy here, Sevani is an exciting sustainable beauty brand that’s unique, safe and effective.
(above, L to R)
- Ageless Radiance, Refining AHA Cleanser is a mix of safe fruit actives, vitamins and anti-inflammatory agents designed to gently wipe away impurities. My delicate skin loves the creamy texture. And I love the mild, soothing scent. To apply, you can either smooth onto your face using circular motions for about 60 seconds, or use as a mask and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Then simply rinse with lukewarm water. I like to apply it on my face and leave it on for a few minutes as I wash hair in the shower. That extended play gives skin a chance to become really refreshed. A Sevani secret: apply to damp skin for fast, penetrating action:) (more…)